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English schools are introducing some assessment tests for all children. Some people are unhappy with this. A politician was interviewed on the radio about it, and was asked one of the questions. (This is for 10 and 11 year old children).

"I went to the cinema after eating my dinner" - is "after" a preposition or subordinating conjunction?

There is a clip here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03syxdv

Is "after" in the quoted sentence a subordinating conjuction, or a preposition?

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    They will doubtless want the answer 'preposition'. The fact that the ing-form eating here is near the verbal extreme (compare 'I went to the cinema still drinking my coffee' and 'I went to the cinema after I had eaten my dinner') is usually not considered enough to discount prepositional usage of after. I understand more and more why John Lawler believes that word-classification is often futile. – Edwin Ashworth May 11 '16 at 23:15
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"after" in the subject sentence is a preposition.

"after eating my dinner" is a prepositional phrase with "eating my dinner" as the objective.


Had the sentence been constructed as "I went to the cinema after I ate dinner." the word after would have functioned as a subordinating conjunction.

"after I ate dinner" is a subordinate clause (with subject and verb) and after as the subordinating conjunction.

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